Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, the one fight that every boxing fan wants to see — and many non-boxing fans, too, for that matter — may finally be on the verge of happening. After a flurry of false starts and acrimonious exchanges between the Floyd and Manny camps, the fight deal could be finalized by the end of the weekend — at least, according to Pacquiao’s 83-year-old promoter, Bob Arum.
If Arum is on the level this time, it appears that the ice in the negotiations was broken when Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., by coincidence, found themselves at the same NBA game, at courtside, in Miami on Tuesday.
The world’s top two pound-for-pound fighters chatted briefly during halftime of the Miami Heat game against the Milwaukee Bucks, exchanging personal phone numbers and information.
Later, Mayweather paid a personal visit to Pacquiao’s hotel suite in Miami, where the Filipino superstar was staying an extra night after weather prevented him from catching a flight out on schedule.
Mayweather and Pacquiao talked business for about an hour, reportedly, and apparently the face-to-face meeting broke the gridlock which had been stopping the fight negotiations in their tracks.
Arum had repeatedly accused Mayweather of avoiding the fight because he was frightened of losing his undefeated record to Pacquiao, but he said that the hotel room sit-down between the two fighters persuaded the Pacquiao team that Floyd sincerely wants to get in the ring with the hard-punching Filipino.
“I think it helped a lot because we were all putting papers together, and there was still a question as to whether Floyd really wanted to do the fight or not,” Arum said in a Friday interview. “Based on the meeting with Pacquiao in the hotel suite, Manny and Michael Koncz were convinced Floyd absolutely wants to do the fight.”
Koncz is a close confidant of Pacquiao who often acts as a liaison between the fighter and Arum.
“Everybody is doing the right thing,” Arum said. “We’re looking to complete the paperwork. Everything is moving in the right direction. Hopefully, the next couple of days it will get done.”
The fighters have already agreed to hold the bout May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, where Mayweather has held his last 10 fights.
Pay Per View rights to the fight will be shared by premium cable networks HBO, which hold the rights to Pacquiao’s fights, and Showtime, which has Mayweather under contract for two more fights.
But also partly as a result of the hotel meeting between Mayweather and Pacquiao, the two rival networks have reportedly reached terms on how the broadcast will be divided up between them.